Money For Moms

Inequity is one of my major concerns. Today I want to concentrate on the inequity moms with children suffer in current day America. I’ll stray a bit but you will see the connections.

There will be a stimulus/relief package coming out of Washington in the next few weeks. That much is certain; exactly what it will contain is still largely in the sausage making stage. The other somewhat certainty is that the maximum check/payment will be $1,400 per adult. The income level cut off and deescalation scale is also negotiable.

Over the last week or so one idea keeps rapidly gaining support and I think it is a great idea. I call it money for moms. The current framework calls for a monthly check (I hope it will be payable to mom) for a six-month period. There are two tiers with younger children meriting a bit larger payment. This makes sense: think diapers etc.

While our society is one of the more advanced when it comes to women’s rights only a willfully ignorant person would deny inequity still exists. Most males (and a fair share of females) are actually perpetrators of it. Most of my female friends consider me to be a feminist yet I have to plead guilty (thankfully to a somewhat lesser degree than most of my peers). It is demonstrable that women are generally paid less than men for the same job. Closer to home think about the distribution of labor. Child rearing, caring for aging parents and most household tasks are generally considered “women’s work” and fall disproportionately on the shoulders of women.

The pandemic has hit younger working moms especially hard. With most schools either closed for in person learning or parent’s making the (in my opinion prudent) decision to have their children do remote learning many moms have been forced to quit their jobs to stay home with their children. They are forced to pay two prices; one current and one in the hopefully near future. The current one is obviously the loss of their paycheck. Some families absorb that better than others. The future one is that they will most likely return to work at a lower wage and position. Their “crime”: being a responsible parent. In most cases dad didn’t suffer that fate and if you can’t see the inequity, I suggest you stop reading.

Moving to wider inequity, I’d like to take a look at the effort for a national minimum wage of $15 per hour (which I don’t feel will make it into this bill). There is a conservative argument for more localized minimum wage laws. There is some merit to that argument. The cost of living varies from one metro area to another, often within the same state. I’ll go back to my younger days. It was definitely more expensive to live in New York City than in Buffalo. Then there is the rural-urban divide. It is more expensive to live in urban areas. My though is if we are going to try to “even the playing field” along these lines we use something smaller. Zip codes would seem to be a good place to start.  A uniform national minimum wage will be problematic  especially for small employers in some localities while starvation wages in another.  The bottom lines are that anyone who works forty hours a week in America shouldn’t live in poverty and nobody should be financially ruined by an economic downturn beyond their control (i. e. a pandemic).

Another lesson we should learn from this is that affordable child care is necessary in our economy. Forget your prejudices and “values”; just look at it from an economic perspective. To throw away half of our human resources is foolish (I’m being kind in my choice of words). If we want the species to survive and provide an adequate future labor supply, we have to reproduce and the last time I checked females are the only ones capable of giving birth. Society is paying the cost of day care one way or the other. Why not get the benefits of the talents of our entire possible labor force in the process?

Well, I got a little sidetracked as anticipated. My main point is that when Congress gets done “making this particular sausage” I hope it includes child care money for moms.

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One thought on “Money For Moms”

  1. How about we start with a minimum wage based on the local cost of living index, and tied to the rate of inflation? But the lowest minimum should be $15/hr…within two years…not five. We’ve seen in plenty of places that the Republican mantra that higher wages cost jobs is NOT true.

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